One Member's Opinion – February 2024
In the 40+ years that I have been weighing and measuring my food from the GreySheet, without exception, no matter what, I have often been asked, by GreySheeters and "civilians" alike, why our community has not updated the food plan in all this time. I have gotten comments such as:
"They didn't know about "X" back when the plan was written."
"I heard that someone involved in the writing of the GreySheet said they had intended to include "X" but forgot to add it to the food list."
"But "X" is such a nutritionally sound food – it's healthy to have it in your diet."
"You know that "X is just a cross between foods on the GreySheet." or "Z is in the same family as a food on the GreySheet."
"You should be able to eat "X" – it has the same sugar and carbohydrate count as other foods on the sheet.
All reasonable considerations under certain circumstances.
If I simply had a physical condition, say diabetes or hypoglycemia, my primary concern would be how my body/blood sugar responded to different foods. If my blood levels/physical markers were acceptable when I ate a certain food, I could include that item on my plan.
If I simply had a weight problem, my primary concern would be my caloric intake. If I were overweight, I would need to decrease the calories consumed in a day. If I were underweight, increase them.
But here's the thing. I am a compulsive eater. A food addict. My problem is physical, mental, and spiritual and my solution must address my ADDICTION.
So here are some things that I know about addiction:
- 1.Addiction is a disease that tells me I don't have a disease. It tells me I can handle foods that I can't. As I am laying in a pool of desperation, it tells me "It's not that bad."
- 2.Addiction is a disease of "More." If one is good, one more would be better. Or maybe two more, or three, or a hundred.
- 3.Addiction lies. It tells me that a little exception can't hurt me. It ignores that one exception ultimately takes another – and then another.
- 4.Addiction is self-sabotage. Addicts find out what works. Then they stop doing it.
- 5.Addiction thrives on isolation. It keeps me from asking for help. It tells me I can figure it out on my own. It shames me for being weak-willed and defective.
The only thing that has ever successfully treated my food addiction has been SURRENDER to the GREYSHEET COMMUNITY. Surrender has meant letting go of all my own ideas and trusting in a way that has worked for countless others. The GreySheet Community is a group of addicts who have come together for one reason – recovery. It consists of people who can recognize my disease when I cannot, and whose combined power is greater than my addiction.
I came to the Cambridge GreySheet community in 1982. Food was destroying my life, and I was consumed with dieting, controlling, obsessing, binging, vomiting, and hating myself. I got a sponsor. As soon as she gave me the GreySheet I thought:
- 1.This looks like death.
- 2.There is no food on this sheet.
- 3.A person cannot exist without the sliced carbohydrate.
- 4.I cannot possibly go for hours without eating something.
- 5.Where are the snacks and "free foods?"
- 6.What is Plan B? Anything would be better than this.
I did GreySheet for a week and then left to find an easier, softer way. A few months later, when my eating, obsession, and desperation had become worse than ever, I let go of all my objections and simply did what those GreySheeters advised. I weighed and measured my 3 meals a day only from foods on that sheet. I committed those meals to my sponsor every day and did not eat in between them, no matter what. And my recovery began.
Since then, I have learned:
- 1.It's about the food – The GreySheet offers me choices of foods that are safe for me – they don't trigger physical craving or mental obsession (and if any foods on the GreySheet make me physically or mentally uncomfortable, I don't have to eat them.)
- 2.It's not only about the food – Once I receive my precious freedom from food addiction, I am finally available to have a life. Whether a certain food is or is not on the food plan, whether I could potentially handle that food, whether it should have been on the original sheet, whether it could be nutritionally beneficial - these thoughts keep my head in the food and in the debating society. My recovery is about surrendering my will, not about expanding my food plan. My recovery is about expanding my life – my spiritual, emotional, creative, professional, social, personal life. It is about becoming the person I was intended to be, the person who was derailed by food addiction.
- 3.Nutrition is a relative concept. Am I to compare eating on the GreySheet with eating what the experts deem the nutritional ideal? My disease will have me forget that if I were not eating on the GreySheet, I would not be eating the nutritional ideal. If I were not eating on the GreySheet, I would be binging on bags and boxes of sugars and carbs. As much as I might not like this truth, these are my two choices: GreySheet or Insanity With Food. My history has proven this fact over and over.
Clearly the GreySheet is not a perfect food plan, and it may not work for everyone. Are there other foods that could have been included? Probably. Will I spend any time thinking, debating, or fighting about that? Absolutely not. I have received a miraculous reprieve from the grips of compulsive eating thanks to my surrender to this grey piece of paper and the support of an amazing community of similarly surrendered people. I am truly free from obsession and craving. I taste my food, enjoy my food, and get to eat three glorious guilt-free meals every day. I am in a regular body that stays basically the same size month to month. Every medical issue I have encountered has been adequately addressed within the boundaries of the GreySheet – including two abstinent pregnancies. I am part of a community of like-minded people who are committed to Twelve-Step recovery and becoming the highest version of themselves possible.
I finally have peace – in my body, mind, and soul. Am I going to give all this up for a fruit that never made it to GreySheet food list? That would be literally insane.
They say, "It works if we work it."
They say, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
They say, "Nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels."
I believe all of this because I have lived it.
And having been abstinent for 40+ years, I have also lived the disease in all its sneaky disguises – one of which is seeking to change the food plan. Let's remember that there is no magic in any specific food out there. The answer lies in the unity of a community committed to one answer, surrendered to its beauty and its flaws, understanding that our unity is our protection against a disease that is always looking for a way back in, and celebrating that we can do together what we cannot do alone.
I wish you freedom from food craving and obsession, joy in daily living, and yummy abstinent meals – all priceless gifts of surrender to the GreySheet.
No Matter What!
Abstinence date: 4.16.82